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The dry, suffocating heat of El Paso is in the air. It's impossible to explain how hot it is here. It is literally to hot to stand out in the sun for more than a few minutes. I'm not kidding. There isn't anything anyone can do about it. You move as fast as you can from one air conditioned environment to another. We have an outdoor gig this coming Tuesday, June 10th at 5 Points Bistro. The stage faces the sunset. It is supposed to be 101 that day. Holy shit. And then on Saturday from 7-9pm we perform outdoors at Memorial Park in El Paso. Hopefully the stage will be in the shade.
In my spare time I have been focusing on my writing skills. Over the past two and a half years I have been working on an embellished memoir called, My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide. It is now available as an eBook at nearly every eBook sore and can be read on all available reading devices. You can access My Life at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore and many others. The hardcopy should be available within the next few weeks if I get my shit together.
Well, it's that time of year again. The outdoor venues are beginning to book themselves in El Paso. Here's hoping for another good year of music. I was fortunate to have recently been reviewed by Michilas Lumnios for Blues @ Greece. I am very appreciative. Juan Tarrin, my bass player and I have been woodshedding this winter and we may pull off a few duo gigs in the near future. Juan is a great player and it has been my pleasure to have been with him for the past four years.
What's more important? Being in a great band with a bunch of great players or drinking yourself into stupidity and continuously screwing your bandmates over? After years of personal experience, apparently the later is most important. It sucks and I hate it. Not that I hate a cold beverage every once in a while, but I hate the fact that there are so many great musicians out there addicted to one thing or another. The simple beverage beer can be enough of an addiction to destroy one's very talented ways. Most musicians I know have a beer or two or three during their performance - one per set, and then a couple at the end of the night. Unfortunately, for many, this just can't be done. It's all or none. I hate it.
Finally, a band name I can live with. Austin Jimmy Murphy & Los Camarones de Amor (The Shrimps of Love).
June 1st we headed to Ruidoso, NM for the Mountain of Blues Festival. It too, like Silver City was about three hours away. Ruidoso is a beautiful little mountain town. I had been trying to get into this event for a few years and finally, with the release of my CD, A History of Blues, I was asked to perform. Again I used my Blues Deluxe. It sounded like crap to me. At least while I was playing rhythm. It was fine for the leads. I have the worst luck with amps. It sucks. We were the third act on. It was a great slot. Most of the bands were local or regional. Everyone was pretty good. The audience was quite a bit smaller than Silver City but just the same, very enthusiastic and welcoming. The fest was outdoors, pretty much in downtown and cost only $12 to get in. There should have been thousands of people there. It was a great location. Where was everyone? Where were all the locals? Where was the support. I'm sure all struggling fests ask the same thing. They offered excellently ice cold beer, a huge tent to protect from the killer sun, great food and a real nice atmosphere. I don't get it. We played a 90 minute set, The stage was great, the sound was great, the hosts were very welcoming, I sold a few more CDs, so all id good. Again, Wes and I stayed the night and our new bass player Juan Tarin and JoDavid hung for a while, but left back to El Paso. There was no after hours jam session, so we partied at the local bar and eventually crawled back to the hotel....which was very nice by the way. Hotel Ruidoso...if your in town, I suggest staying here. See you soon. Austin Jimmy.
On May 31st we performed at the 5 Points Bistro in El Paso, TX. It hosts a great patio bar and stage out back. We scored a gig through Fox radio from 6-9 p.m. Three short sets. My Deluxe Reverb let out a big fart at Sliver City so I ended up using my Blues Deluxe; an amp I'm not familiar with. I wasn't totally comfortable with my sound, but the show must go on. I have a neighbor up the street whose house is the last house against the Franklin Mountains. I stop by there sometimes for a cold one after walking the dog. He and his wife, neighbor, former brother-in-law and the kids all came down for the show. I was reintroduced to a guy who visited Syracuse in 1993 with my sister-in-law and volunteered at the NYS Blues Festival. This would have been the second year of the fest. I also saw this beautiful woman walk in. She looked right at me like she knew me, but I was just starring at her. She came up to me later and reintroduced herself. Whne I lived in Austin, TX back in the early 80s (hence the nickname) the band I was in at the time was called Skitz. We hooked up on what was known as the Chelsea Street Pub circuit. There were 23 pubs across the souther U.S. We would spend two weeks at each one performing six nights a week. We were the first band in the new El Paso pub. My drummer, Mark Stevens and I both married girls from El Paso. Mark passed away six years ago. She came by to say hello. It was great to see her. I used to call her Nova Pro. I have no idea why. Her name is Terri. The gig went well. I was home by 10 and off to Ruidoso, NM the next morning.
Over Memorial Day weekend the band traveled to the historic Silver City to open their blues festival. It's about a three hour drive from El Paso up I-10 to Deming and then north to Silver City. We performed a strong set that was truly way too quick...60 minutes. When we were done we sat back and enjoyed the rest of the entertainment, had a few cold ones, ate and waited for the jam that evening. All of the musicians were who attended the jam were excellent. The harmonica player, I forget his name and band affiliation was the best I have heard in a long time. El Paso isn't know for great harp players. Harp players are either great or not...there isn't any in-between; at least for me. Syracuse, NY, my homeland, has some of the greatest harp players in the world, so I'm critical of others. Tom Townsley, Matt Tarbell, Mike Petroff, Bernie Clarke and Johnny Shoes quickly come to mind when I think of Syracuse. I know there are others who have come along sine I left in 2004. The drummer, again his name slips me, had that beautiful shuffle that also exists in Syracuse. The house bass player and all of the guitar players were really smooth. It was an honor to listen and get to play with these guys..and gals. My other guitar player, Wes Gundersen, and I represented Austin Jimmy. Our bass player Steve Karolus and drummer JoDavid Reyes left soon after our performance and headed home to El Paso. The backline was great, the stage crew was awesome and the volunteers were plentiful. We hope to be asked back in the near future. A well- managed festival is something to behold.
I always look forward to this special, regional event. I have been fortunate enough to perform at either their Spring or Fall festival for the past four years. It is an honor. This year I will have copies of my CD, A History of Blues, available and we will be recording directly off the board for a possible live CD in the near future. The band is sounding great, I think this will be our best performance yet. We start at noon on Sunday which is a bit early, but here in Texas and in Southern New Mexico it is very hot, so noon is actually a good thing. For the price of admission you get several wine tastings. It's well with the $20 admission. Great food vendors, arts and crafts in a really nice grassy, shady area. I hope to see you there.
We hope you will join Austin Jimmy Murphy at 5 Points Bistro in El Paso, TX this coming Friday between 8pm and midnight. We were there a couple os weeks ago and had a great audience. MY CD, A History of Blues, is selling well, be sure to talk to me about receiving a signed copy while you are there.